Sep 062023
Review: Who’s Afraid of a Giant Wheel?
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Book Title: Who’s afraid of a Giant Wheel?
Author: Zainab Sulaiman
Publisher: Duckbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Type: Paperback
Pages: 136 pages
Recommended Age: 9-13 years


Before the dreaded teens, comes the even more terrible pre-teens! What makes this age strange is the fact that children begin to assert their independence in all areas, but are just beginning to learn about themselves and their individuality, making them very prone to incidents of self doubt and low self confidence, especially if they are surrounded by friends who pull them down further. ‘Who’s afraid of the giant wheel?’ is a beautiful book that explores what true friendship means and how important it is to respect yourself first!

Noorie is a 9 year old girl with more than one problem in her life – her grades are not too good, she’s bossy at school, her best friend is leaving school, and her parents are separating! To escape all of this, she often spends her evenings at Tina’s house, who ends up bullying her. Will Noorie give in to Tina’s bullying in a bid to fit in with the “cool” gang, or will she be able to stand up for herself? 

The author has brilliantly woven in themes that school children face on a daily basis – bullying by peers, not being chosen for a coveted position and the constant pressure to fit in. The author highlights the narrator’s feelings in each situation really well, which makes the reading experience very real! Imagine being 100% sure of being chosen for that extremely important position you always wanted, but instead a different name is announced. The author states:

“A collective gasp filled the air. The boys on my left all turned to look at me as if they were one body. For a few moments, they seemed to share my shock!”

The book would be a good read for children whose parents are going through a separation. It very gently explains how two separate, happy households are better than one unhappy one. My biggest learning, though, from the book was to never judge anyone through just one interaction – Noorie was bossy at school, but outside of it, she was being bullied, and had many other issues. So, be kind to everyone you meet, you never know what they might be going through. 

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Disclaimer: We are proud to be part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received this book as a review copy from the publisher.

RELATED READING: Books that can help children deal with Divorce or Separation of Parents.

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